Summary: How we are kept by the Holy Spirit
A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?" "You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today." The little boy replied, “Wow! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"
This morning is known as Palm Sunday, The day, taken from the Gospels, where a whole city threw a parade for Jesus. As Jesus rode into the city, the people threw Palm branches in eagerness of his coming. This day marked a time of celebration where Jesus was the worshipped and praised.What happened on Palm Sunday?This day is Bittersweet because even as we read of the celebration we know that Friday is coming. The cross is coming. We know that many in this same crowd will within a few short days exchange words of praise to words of death. I want to center our attention on two services both which center upon Jesus, but with two different results. LK 19:36 Then the crowds spread out their coats on the road ahead of Jesus. MT 27:15, 16 “Now it was the governor's custom to release one prisoner to the crowd each year during the Passover celebration anyone they wanted. This year there was a notorious criminal in prison, a man named Barabbas.” One man I heard this week say that even people in church are in the hog pen just as the prodigal son was. There are people know what to say, how to say it, even how to act in it, but there is no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. No salvation, just empty words. We see a perfect example of this in our two passages this morning. On Sunday Jesus rode into the city with the people shouting praises and praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. On Friday they are shouting give us Barabas, We want him, Crucify Jesus Crucify Him. Why the change? Well there are many possible reasons, but one simple reason is that their words did not match their heart. They possessed a casual not a committed faith. They had religion but they missed the person Jesus. So how can we have a committed faith? How can we be real and sincere?
The first Key is that a steadfast faith is not self-centered it is Christ-Centered. We often miss this by saying, “Listen God, this is my calendar and my plan. Now can I put you in here or here? We turn to God only when it is suitable or handy. We read the people praised Jesus as He passed by, but many of them praised him for two reasons. First it was because of his miracles. He had healed the sick, raised the dead. The second was because they saw Him as one that would deliver them from the Romans. Their praise was with the belief of what can you do for me Jesus? For them it was all about Me.
There is a legend about an ancient village in Spain. The villagers learned that the king would pay a visit. Excitement grew! "We must throw a big celebration," The villagers all agreed. But, it was a poor village, and there weren’t many resources. Someone came up with a classic idea. Since many of the villagers made their own wines, the idea was for everyone in the village to bring a large cup of their choice wine to the town square, “We’ll pour it into a large vat and offer it to the king for his pleasure! When the king draws wine to drink, it will be the very best he’s ever tasted!” The day before the king’s arrival, hundreds of people lined up to make their offering to the honored guest. They climbed a small stairway, and poured their gift through a small opening at the top. Finally, the vat was full! The King arrived, was escorted to the square, given a silver cup and was told to draw some wine, which represented the best the villagers had. He placed the cup under the faucet, turned the handle, and then drank the wine, but it was nothing more than water. You see everyone reasoned, "I’ll withhold my best wine and substitute water, what with so many cups of wine in the vat, the king will never know the difference!" The problem was, everyone thought the same thing, and the king was greatly dishonored. Today we can choose to honor Him as our great King, Jesus Christ by giving him our very best. A second key is that a steadfast Faith is relationship driven.